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Census return rate is on track

TRI-COUNTY AREA—The government is looking for census forms returned by mail through mid-April before census workers are sent door-to-door, starting May 1.
The government is keeping track of the participation rate for mailed responses, and updating it on the Web Monday through Friday.  As of Monday, April 5, the statewide participation rate was 55 percent. However, locally that number is higher.
In Yates County, 71 percent have mailed back the 10 question form. That is already higher than the response rate from 2000, which was 66 percent. As of Monday, Benton was leading towns in Yates with 80 percent, the highest return rate.
In Schuyler County, the participation rate was 71 percent. This is the same percentage of people who participated in 2000. On the town level Montour had the highest return rate in Schuyler, with 75 percent.
In Steuben County, 68 percent of residents participated in the census. In 2000, 74 percent did as well.
Vaughn Neily, local census office manager in Elmira, said the end participation rate will decide how many census workers are sent out in the different areas. He said his office will have a better idea by the end of April the number of door-to-door census workers needed.
For the moment though, Neily said they are halfway through hiring the approximate 1,200 census workers needed in the the nine county area the Elmira office covers.
Vaughn said the data being collected now is kept in a central office. Once the process is finished, the results from the 2010 census are sent to the president for release approval.
“We won’t see it for quite some time,” he said.
Data collected from the 2000 census estimated that Yates County’s population was 24,621. The Census Bureau then predicted Yates’s population had grown only .1 percent in 2008, to 24,652. In Schuyler County’s 2000 census, the population was estimated to be 19,222. In 2008, that number decreased 1.7 percent to an estimated 18,888.
Census data is used to apportion congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to tribal, state and local governments each year and to make decisions about what community services to provide. The 2010 Census form is one of the shortest in U.S. history, consisting of 10 questions, taking about 10 minutes to complete. Strict confidentiality laws protect the respondents and the information they provide.

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